Farm unions, Centre to hold sixth round of talks today
The protesting farm unions will hold the sixth round of talks with the Centre on Wednesday to resolve the ongoing deadlock over the three contentious farm laws passed in the Parliament back in September. The talks are being held after the farm unions agreed to resume negotiations on Tuesday, accepting the government's invitation, while also reminding it of their "non-negotiable" demands. Here's more.
Farm unions say only certain issues will be discussed
The Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) - an umbrella body of 40 protesting farmer unions - wrote to the Union Government late Tuesday night, accepting the invitation for restarting negotiations. It, however, also said that they would only discuss certain issues as per its four-point agenda that was sent to the government earlier. The meeting is likely to be held at 2:00 pm today.
What exactly does the four-point agenda include?
The farm unions' four-point agenda includes the modalities that need to be adopted for repealing the three contentious farm laws, and the mechanism required for ensuring the minimum support price (MSP) is legally guaranteed. The agenda also includes excluding farmers from penalties under the Commission for the Air Quality Management ordinance and withdrawal of the proposed Electricity Amendment Bill, 2020 to protect farmers' interests.
Tomar, Goyal meet HM Shah ahead of crucial meeting
On Tuesday, ahead of the crucial talks with farmers, Union Ministers Narendra Singh Tomar and Piyush Goyal met Home Minister Amit Shah reportedly to discuss the government's position for the meeting. Agriculture Minister Tomar; Minister of Railways, Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution Goyal; and MoS Commerce and Industry Som Parkash have been representing the government in talks with the farmers.
What are the three laws that farmers are protesting?
The three farm laws that the protesting farmers are opposing include the newly enacted Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Act, 2020, the Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement on Price Assurance and Farm Services Act, 2020, and the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Act, 2020. Thousands of farmers have been protesting at different borders of Delhi for over a month now.
There is no question of being insensitive: Rajnath Singh
Ahead of the meeting between the Centre and farmers, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday asserted the government will find a solution to farmers' issues. "There is no question of being insensitive as far as the subject of farmers is concerned. Our farmers are holding demonstrations and I am not the only one pained. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is pained as well," he added.
Clause-wise discussion based on logic should be done: Singh
"My only request to farmers is that clause-wise discussion based on logic should be done and not seek 'yes' or 'no' answer," Singh told ANI. "The farmers should at least see the implementation of these laws for two years as an experiment. We will be ready to make necessary amendments if there is a need," the Defence Minister added.